Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Brexit: reclaiming democracy
Po-faced narcissistic remainers think a darkness is stalking the land now that the thick and racist plebs have been allowed a vote. The proles have taken leave of their senses and voted against their economic interests. Or so the narrative goes. I'm deeply bored of this now.
In actual fact it's a little more mundane than that. The British public have collectively decided that something in the existing political settlement isn't working and it is time for change. That's all.
On the whole the EU is not something they cared about very much. The only real experience most people have of the EU is a number of sweeping changes without any real explanation and without their direct consent. Instinctively, Brexit voters are basically aware that elite politicians are conspiring to create something they absolutely wouldn't get consent for were they to put all their cards on the table. Brexit is a yank on the leash.
As far as that goes I am with the Brexiteers all the way. Every time you see an EU "summit" you see a gaggle of politicians, most of whom you did not elect, spouting platitudes about peace and prosperity while failing to offer any solutions. Quite the opposite in fact.
What we see instead is more bland left wing populist initiatives with respect to climate change. This really tells you how out of touch our elites are. Having used our money to finance green groups, in order capture a pro-EU activist base, the only "grassroots" feedback in the system is a reflection of their own agenda.
Consequently they actually believe they are acting according to the wishes of the people. When the left have captured public institutions and state media, they see it reflected back at them everywhere they look. Since they never rub shoulders with ordinary people there is no dialogue between the public and an increasingly remote and insulated bubble.
Being low information voters, preachy remainers would have it that we leavers are throwing away a liberal utopia for the sake of incandescent light-bulbs. Personally I am no fan of energy saving bulbs just from an aesthetic point of view but this really isn't the point.
The mentality behind energy saving bulbs is absolutely sound in that we are looking at a policy of demand side management in energy. I can see the logic as part of an integrated (but very expensive) energy policy. However...
Policy agendas in the EU are not the product an elected government. EU policy agendas are very much a product of the EU entity and its roadmap. They take years to come to fruition and if you are seeing any kind of implementation in the public domain then chances are you are looking at a policy that has been in the works for a decade or more. They are policy agendas rammed through regardless of what the public might actually want - and entirely regardless of the present economic realities. That's why the EU always has yesterday's solution for today's problem.
Then, in order to appear the most virtuous, our politicians get into a bidding war to see who can kick their electorates in the balls the hardest. In our case an energy policy that committed us to limiting new builds right about the time we were wondering if we were going to keep the lights on at all, piling massive costs on the billpayer - right about the time the global financial system was imploding. What we needed was cheap energy - and fast. What we got was windmills.
It's not just here either. Trump comes as no surprise when I fully recall Obama telling us that energy prices would necessarily "skyrocket" - and they did. You can't really be surprised that people do not think the EU brings them prosperity when wages have stagnated for a decade while a lofty elite sets you up to be a cash cow for energy giants.
The point to all this is that it is a global agenda - and something that is done to us, over which we have no control. Energy policy was snatched away from municpalities, nationalised then sold off and then our politicians in turn handed policy to the EU. We still have voting rituals but we have no real power over the things that directly impact us.
In most respects the UK is struggling to stay competitive yet they keep on piling on the costs. At the same time we are told that giving up ever more control is in the greater good and in the interests of a level playing field. It sounds good in theory but what that means in practice is a wholesale asset stripping of the UK - especially in defence.
We can't even make our own tanks now. I don't even think we make our own ammunition. Our defence research establishment has been cannibalised and given to France. Our army lorries are made somewhere else. We sack men in Derby so our trains can be made in Germany. Similarly when it comes to collaboration, it means white elephants like the A400M where we only get a small part of the work for an aircraft that won't work properly until its ready to retire. All the while the economic disparity between London and the regions is ripping the country apart.
For sure we have lost a lot of manufacturing to globalisation and automation but at every turn we have given it a shove with more EU "workers rights" and increased energy costs. I'm genuinely surprised UK steel has lasted as long as it has. It's funny that remainers should call Brexit a national suicide when in fact we have seen the EU responsible for a slow bleed of much of what we value.
Ultimately what we have lost is control over key policy such as energy and agriculture. We have lost the right to determine for ourselves what is open to competition and what is not. Some things we might prefer to protect for cultural and strategic purposes yet we have waived our ability to do so.
So yes, this is about taking back control. Not just taking back control from the EU but also taking control away from the narcissistic "liberal" elites who see no connection between their lofty intentions and the real world consequences. That's what makes Brexit a cultural as well as an economic battle.
Of course this is the bit where economist wonks leap in and tell me that socialism is bad and protectionism is bad. I don't need any lectures from these people. I'm no socialist, I'm not pining to re-open any mines and I'm not all that convinced by protectionist arguments either. This is about the right to choose when and if it is appropriate.
You can argue that leaving the single market will make us poorer and I will probably agree with you. You can even argue that our new found ability to make trade deals will yield little reward - and I might well agree with that too. We stand to lose out. What remainers cannot say though is how we break the current stagnation and how we reverse a number of unwholesome trends. The EU doesn't have any answers.
If there are any answers then they are to be found in people going about their business according to their own designs, not the command and control agendas of politicians. People need the freedom to innovate and we need democracy in order to stay competitive.
Brexit of itself does not deliver democracy or boost trade but it is a watershed. It marks the beginning of a long fightback against economic policies that have disempowered and disenfranchised people. It is also a fightback against condescending and snobby elites whose ideas have brought us only economic stagnation, debt bubbles and spiralling bills. It is a fightback against a mistrustful political class who think democracy is too dangerous and only their enlightened ways can deliver us from ourselves. It is a fight to restore trust in people.
Written into the DNA of the EU is a mistrust of people. The prime directive of the EU is to rob people of democracy and deprive them of the means to wage war. It is a bankrupt ideology. At the heart of this is an faux-liberal establishment which doesn't believe in democracy or consultation. They impose rather than ask. Rather than submit a political agenda to the ballot they have a system of government with a pretend parliament to railroad it through. Euro-elections are the illusion of democracy.
I am under no illusions here. By the time all this is done I do not expect that we will be free and clear of the EU. I expect any trade agreement with the EU will be as restrictive as membership. I'm not expecting any miracles. What we will have though are a few more tools in our arsenal - and maybe when we get a taste of self-rule we will seek more of it. We are so out of the habit of self-governance that most have forgotten what it even looks like - or even recognise that we have lost it. It will take time.
Meanwhile, for all that I'm a scathing critic of Tories and their Brexit delusions, I'm not really all that concerned in the grander scheme of things. The choice was simple. We can either spend the next decade or more with the same economic stagnation and the same spirit crushing consensus politics that get us nowhere - or we can set about fixing it. In so doing there is a learning curve and we will probably find out the hard way that the free trade fantasies of Toryboys don't work. That will be an expensive lesson. Ultimately though, this is about the destination - reclaiming our country from a faceless managerial entity. That fight is only just beginning and Brexit is only a beachhead.